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The Senate confirmed former Sen. Bill Nelson (D) to lead the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Thursday.

Nelson’s confirmation to be Biden’s NASA administrator was done by unanimous consent as the chamber prepared to leave town for a one-week recess.

Nelson, who served in the Senate from 2001 through 2018, when he lost reelection, was well known around the Capitol for his deep enthusiasm for space, including overseeing space policy. He also served in the House from 1979 until 1991 and during that time he flew as a payload specialist on the Columbia space shuttle in 1986, spending six days in orbit.

The Senate’s action comes after the Senate Commerce Committee advanced Nelson’s nomination by a voice vote this week, teeing up the Senate to confirm him to lead NASA.

In his new role, Nelson will helm NASA as it carries out its Artemis program by working with private companies to establish a presence on the moon with the ambitious goal of reaching Mars in the coming years.

The Washington Post reported earlier this month that NASA had picked Elon Musk’s SpaceX to build a spacecraft that can be used for astronauts to go back to the moon.

 

Tags Bill Nelson Elon Musk NASA

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